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알아두면 좋은 뉴스 공유 9/21/22

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- Markets: investors sent stocks lower, Treasury yields higher
~ Prior to the Fed’s big interest rate decision this afternoon - expected to be the central bank’s third 75 b.p. hike in a row to tamp down inflation
~ Ford stock had its worst day in 11 years after warning of $1 bil. in extra supplier costs

- Chamath Palihapitiya (billionaire investor who once claimed to be the next Warren Buffett) is winding down 2 of his special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), returning $1.5 bil. to investors
~ Marks the symbolic end to the SPAC bubble that Palihapitiya is credited with instigating
- SPACs: shell companies formed with the intention of acquiring a private startup, taking them public, skirting the traditional IPO process
~ Palihapitiya said his team couldn’t find attractive targets for 2 SPACs after hunting for deals for 2 years
~ “It is a very, very precarious moment in the public capital markets” -Palihapitiya to the WSJ
~ Different situation from the guy who positioned himself as an advocate for investors during the height of the SPAC boom in 2020-2021
~ 2019: Palihapitiya kicked off the frenzy, took Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic public via SPAC
~ Now, many celebrities got involved in SPAC
- During the peak of SPAC mania in Q1 2021, 314 SPAC IPOs raised $100.3 bil.
~ More than any full-year amount previously
- Times have changed
~ Regulatory crackdown on SPACs, flight from risky assets due to soaring inflation have crushed the SPAC market - disproportionately impacting the indiv. Traders Palihapitiya patronized
~ SPACs are structured to protect their creators - Palihapitiya said he’s roughly doubled his money through SPACs
~ But on the stock market, all but one of the companies Palihapitiya took public via SPAC are down at least 40% from their initial listing price
- Zoom out: SPAC rout reflects the utter barrenness of this year’s IPO market
~ Today marks 238 days since a large U.S. tech IPO (longest drought in more than 20 years)

- Protests grow in Iran over a woman’s death
~ Mahsa Amini (22-year-old Kurdish woman) died last week after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police (tasked with enforcing laws that require women to wear a headscarf (hijab), loose-fitting clothing in public)
~ More Iranians filled the streets to protest - 5 people have been killed in protests
~ Gov. sought to tamp down the unrest by reaching out to Amini’s family
- Russia wants to bring its new territory into the fold
~ Kremlin’s proxies in 4 occupied Ukrainian regions said they will hold votes on annexation beginning on Friday
~ Major escalation is being seen as a way for Russia to consolidate the areas it’s already won as Ukrainian forces recapture wide swaths of territory
~ European leaders called the referendums a “sham” (similar to the annexation vote held in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2014, which most international gov. do not recognize)
- Amazon’s football experiment seems to be going well
~ Amazon Prime Video’s first Thursday Night Football broadcast last week broke the record for Prime sign-ups over a 3-hour period
~ Prospect of missing an NFL game generated more new Prime subscriptions than any other three-hour period (incl. during shopping events like Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday)
~ “The audience numbers exceeded all of our expectations for viewership” -Amazon’s global sports boss

- Justice Department charged 47 people for allegedly carrying out the single largest COVID-19 relief fraud scheme to date
~ Feds say that by exploiting a program meant to feed needy Minnesota children, the defendants stole $250 mil.
- Prosecutors say the fraud was committed by a network of indiv. connected to the nonprofit Feeding Our Future, was overseen by the nonprofit’s founder, Aimee Block
~ Feeding Our Future was one of the organizations Minnesota trusted to oversee the distribution of meals to children in low-income families during COVID-19
~ Instead, organization operated a “pay-to-play scheme” in which indiv. submitted fake meal sites, children’s names, raking in gov. money with fraudulent invoices
~ Feds say one restaurant collected $1.1 mil. in just a month while claiming to feed 185,000 children - FBI noted that a typical McDonald’s restaurant brings in $2.9 mil. in a full year
- Rather than help Minnesota children, prosecutors say the stolen funds were spent on cars, guns, real estate in U.S., Turkey, Kenya
- Zoom out: while it’s the largest COVID-19 relief fraud case, this isn’t the last
~ There are 500 agents working on COVID-19 fraud cases, 1,500 indiv. have already been charged with defrauding relief programs

- Spotify started selling audiobooks in the U.S. yesterday
~ Represents Part 2 of the company’s push to become a one-stop shop for all listening opportunities (the first being podcasts)
- Spotify’s Head of Audiobooks Nir Zicherman said that the audiobook market is expanding by about 20% annually
~ Dominated by Amazon - Amazon’s Audible accounted for more than 40% of the audiobook market in 2018
- Spotify could take some market share by offering users something Audible doesn’t: options
~ Spotify users can buy audiobooks a la carte, instead of through a monthly subscription like what Audible offers
~ Zicherman teased the possibility of a freemium model, which would add free, ad-supported audiobooks to the service
~ Amateurs will be able to upload audiobooks to Spotify, too
- An interesting wrinkle: you won’t be able to purchase audiobooks in the Spotify app
~ You’ll have to buy them on a separate web page before downloading in the app
~ This obstacle course allows Spotify to circumvent the cut Apple, Google take from purchases made in apps downloaded from their app stores

Grab Bag
- Quote: “Nobody’s going to go there until she’s home” -Breanna Stewart, WNBA star
~ Told the AP
~ American women basketball players are avoiding playing in Russia this year due to the detainment, conviction of Brittney Griner
~ Historically, many WNBA players have spent their offseason playing on Russian teams because of better compensation, benefits
- Stat: researchers at the University of Hong Kong say they’ve finally calculated how many ants there are in the world
~ It’s an “unimaginable” amount
~ Estimate there are 20 quadrillion ants living on Earth (2.5 mil. ants for every human)
~ If you used a watermelon to lure all of the ants in the world onto a scale, they’d weigh about 12 megatons of dry carbon (more than the weight of all wild mammals, birds)
- Read: the enduring wisdom of Goodnight Moon (New York Times)

What Else is Happening
- All adults under 65 should be screened regularly for anxiety, a powerful health panel said yesterday
- Venezuelan migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard filed a class-action lawsuit against FL GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials for relocating them under false pretenses
- Peloton announced its rowing machine: It’s $3,195
- The chess fiasco escalates: World Champion Magnus Carlsen abruptly resigned from his online match against Hans Niemann, who other pro chess players have suspected of cheating in another match against Carlsen
- Stop cooking chicken in Nyquil, the FDA said (it’s been a social media challenge)


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